Former Microsoft Director of Sports Marketing Sentenced to 28 Months in Prison for Wire Fraud
Used Position to Embezzle more than $1 million by Misappropriating Super Bowl Tickets and Submitting Fraudulent Invoices
The former Director of Sports Marketing and Alliances at Microsoft was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 28 months in prison, and three years of supervised release for wire fraud for his scheme to profit by stealing from Microsoft. JEFF TRAN, a/k/a TRUNG TRAN, 45 of Seattle, used his position at Microsoft to attempt to steal more than $1.5 million through the creation and submission of fraudulent invoices and the unauthorized use of other Microsoft assets. At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez asked TRAN why he stolen the money. TRAN told the court he was still trying to answer why he did it.
According to records filed in the case, TRAN oversaw Microsoft’s promotional relationship with the National Football League (NFL). Tran’s scheme began in January of 2016. Tran, who was responsible for distributing Microsoft’s Super Bowl tickets to Microsoft employees, secretly misappropriated over $40,000 worth of 2016 Super Bowl tickets and sold them to a New York ticket broker. He repeated this activity the following year, this misappropriating tickets worth more than $200,000 for the 2017 Super Bowl.
Tran continued his theft after the 2017 Super Bowl. In March 2017, TRAN persuaded a Microsoft vendor to invoice Microsoft $775,000 for supposed services the vendor had never provided. Tran explained the request by telling the vendor the services had been provided by another company that could not bill Microsoft directly because it had not gone through Microsoft’s accreditation process. At Tran’s direction, Microsoft paid the $775,000 invoice to the vendor, and the vendor forwarded the proceeds to Tran.
In July 2017, Tran attempted to repeat the invoicing scheme, and asked the vendor to prepare a $670,000 invoice for services it had not provided. This time, the vendor became suspicious and reported Tran’s activity to Microsoft. When Microsoft confronted Tran, Tran made false statements to corporate investigators, destroyed evidence, and attempted to persuade witnesses to lie to investigators.
Tran returned $775,000 to Microsoft days after being confronted. Tran returned the remaining stolen funds after entering into a plea agreement with the government.
In asking for a prison sentence, prosecutors wrote to the Court that, “When Tran stole from Microsoft, the company was already paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do a job most people would envy. Tran’s decision to steal when he already occupied a lucrative and privileged position makes his conduct more volitional, and the crime more reprehensible, than crimes committed by people who steal, deal drugs, or commit other crime to put food on the table.”
TRAN has already paid restitution to Microsoft of $1,036,000. Chief Judge Martinez also imposed a $50,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.